The purpose of this bill is to encourage the development of solar generating facilities to sell electrictity to retail customers in this state. The Department of Commerce requested this bill to attract businesses to the state.
Over 90% of our state energy is generated from coal. Unfortunately, some businesses will not consider locating to our great state unless a portion of the states retail electricity is generated from renewable sources such as solar.
Anytime a new energy-generating facility locates in our state, the rate payers electric bills is increased.
Senate Bill 583 would increase your electric bill approximately 18 cents a month with a maximum cap of 36 cents a month per residential use.
The coal association supported this bill. This bill is not intended to take any energy away from our coal fired power plants.
This was a bipartison bill and passed with 76 yays and 23 nays. I voted yay to help our great state have more good paying jobs.
I wanted and need everyone who is or has had concerns about Senate Bill 451 and what transpired on the House of Delegates session yesterday to be informed of my actions and decisions. The majority leader made a motion that we attend to the business before us and deal with the SB 451 later allowing for a caucus session. Caucus sessions are a huge benefit to myself because it allows for; questions, answers and explanations not only to the bill in question but also for procedural questions. I wanted and needed a detailed explanation to what was offered back from the Senate. I was in favor of what was approved know as the "House Version" as were many of my colleagues. The vote passed 71 yays and 29 nays. I was being told the Senate "gutted" the bill that had been sent to them, and there was little information available other than what had transpired on the Senate floor. As it turns out, I had 3 areas of concern; charter schools, educational savings accounts, clarification of work stoppage, RIF decisions, and innovation zones. The House of Delegates had put a tremendous amount of effort into making this a "good bill". I voted in favor of the Majority Leaders motion and against the motion to "kill" the bill without any further consideration. Otherwise why did we put so much time and effort into this bill if we were going to simply give up at this point. This does not mean I was in favor or disapproved. But instead wanted an opportunity to do what I was elected to come to Charleston and do, which was what is best for my District and our State. The following is a list of items and why I had hoped to have had an opportunity of some desperately needed legislation and the only vehicle which could have made this a reality was Bill 451.
What we lost was: 5% teacher/service worker pay raise, $2000 bonus for certified math teachers, more flexibility for county salary supplements, $250 tax credit for school supplies for all teachers and service workers, $500 year-end bonus if not absent more than 4 days for teachers and service workers, voters approve regular school levy increase, open enrollment, $24 million for more student support personnel, school counselors primary purpose to support students with academic , social and emotional needs, school attendance changes, school aid formula changes, paid during work stoppage and can have extracurricular activities, teacher input on student promotion, NO education savings accounts, RIF decisions on qualifications, evaluations and seniority order set at hiring, county administration NOT at-will employees, BRIM coverage for school employees, Underwood-Smith Scholars program (including music teachers), NO paycheck protection, NO non-severability clause, $5 million for Innovation Zones, **LAW ENFORCEMENT IN EVERY SCHOOL, counties can suspend/dismiss employees for findings of abuse, and I would have supported public charter schools being capped at 2 as a pilot program TOTALLY APPROVED BY & CONTROLLED BY THE LOCAL BOE! Unfortunately, now it appears the only legislation available to our educators and service personnel is a pay raise. Every educator that I have had an opportunity to discuss the above referenced matter consistently said, "my priority is not a pay raise". This is why I requested one more opportunity to review Bill 451. God Bless each and everyone of you, our educators, school personnel, students, our BOE and our county!!